Adonis Diaries

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Forgotten history of Autism?

Decades ago, few pediatricians had heard of autism.

In 1975, One in 5,000 kids was estimated to have it. Today, 1 in 68 is on the autism spectrum.

What caused this steep rise? Steve Silberman points to “a perfect storm of autism awareness” — a pair of psychologists with an accepting view, an unexpected pop culture moment and a new clinical test.

But to really understand, we have to go back further to an Austrian doctor by the name of Hans Asperger, who published a pioneering paper in 1944.

Because the paper was buried in time, autism has been shrouded in misunderstanding ever since. (This talk was part of a TED2015 session curated by Pop-Up Magazine: popupmagazine.com or @popupmag on Twitter.)

Steve Silberman · Writer and editor. A writer and contributing editor for Wired who covers science and society. His newest book explores neurodiversity and the link between autism and genius.
Filmed March 2015

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December 2022
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